A job centre worker has been convicted of fraudulently claiming more than £20,000 in benefits.
Benefits cheat Kim Draper was living with partner Lee Fairfax while claiming housing benefit and council tax benefit.
The 45-year-old, who was on maternity leave from her client adviser role at Job Centre Plus, failed to declare Mr Fairfax was helping her financially.
Benefits verification inspectors became suspicious when they were repeatedly refused entry to her home during routine checks.
When they were finally granted access– at Madhuran Court, Strood – evidence showed she lived with a partner who was helping with finances.
In total, Draper fraudulently claimed £21,184.97 in housing benefit and £2,562.09 in council tax benefit.
During a hearing at Medway Magistrates Court on 27 November 2012, Draper pleaded guilty to failing to declare she was living with her partner, who was working.

She told the court she had not declared that van driver Mr Fairfax was living at the address because she knew her benefits would stop, and said she was struggling financially.
Draper, who now lives at Canterbury Street, Gillingham, was ordered to carry out 200 hours community service, and ordered to pay £250 towards prosecution costs. She will also have to repay the full amount she falsely claimed.

Cllr Alan Jarrett, Deputy Leader of Medway Council and Portfolio Holder for Finance, said: “This case sends out a strong message to all benefits claimants.

“They must make sure they only claim what they are entitled to or they will face criminal action and have to pay back any money they have wrongly received.
“We will now work to ensure this lady pays back this huge amount, which was money taken from the public purse.”
Anyone who wants to report a change in their personal circumstances should call the benefits office on 01634 306000.
Anyone who wants to report a benefit fraud can contact the Medway Council Fraud Hotline in complete confidence on 0800 0837049. Alternatively write to the Council at Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham, Kent, ME4 4TR or email: – investigation.team@medway.gov.uk

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